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焼きたてケーキとコーヒーor 紅茶で １０００円 火曜夜のみ料金設定は別です
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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
-------Leonardo da Vinci (Italian polymath, 1452~1519)-----
Two cities in central Japan regarded as the birthplace of ninjas, or feudal era secret agents, have launched a council to attract more tourists from home and abroad.
The cultural assets related to ninjas in Koka City, Shiga Prefecture and in neighboring Iga City, Mie Prefecture, were designated as a Japan Heritage earlier this year.
The 2 municipalities have formed a council to enable the region to collectively promote tourism. Its first meeting on Tuesday was held at Aburahi Shrine, which is said to have been a gathering place of the ninjas.
The 2 mayors and the tourism association chairman of both cities and others wore ninja costumes for the occasion.
Koka Mayor Hiroki Iwanaga said they hope to deliver messages that can be sent only from the birthplace of ninjas to other areas in Japan and across the world.
The 2 mayors then signed a written agreement.
The council is to consider jointly creating posters and attracting history fans and foreign tourists.
Iwanaga said as the only place where ninjas existed, he hopes to further enhance the region's tourism.
Paris has been turned into a giant Olympic park to promote the city's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
The city government and the bid committee began the event on Friday, Olympic Day. Paris is competing against Los Angeles for the right to host the Games, 100 years after it last held an Olympics.
Divers plunged into the Seine and athletes pole-vaulted along the river. Children joined various ball games.
Athletes raced on a 100-meter floating track on the Seine, drawing cheers from the onlookers. The runners included 2-time Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner.
One spectator said she expects Paris to be the next Olympics host after Tokyo.
The host city for the 2024 Games will be decided at a general assembly of the International Olympic Committee in September.
Freelance announcer Mao Kobayashi, who died on Thursday after suffering from cancer, left behind an essay dedicated to the BBC. The British public broadcaster in 2016 put her on its list of 100 influential and inspirational women.
The BBC said that in Japan, people rarely talk about cancer but that Kobayashi broke the mold by writing a blog about her illness and how it changed her perspective on life. The broadcaster said her blog inspired cancer patients and many others.
In response, Kobayashi wrote her essay in which she says she hid her disease for a long time because her job involved appearing on TV, and she was scared of being associated with illness or showing weakness.
She writes that while wanting to go back to who she was before, she was actually moving more towards the shadows and farther from who she wanted to be.
Kobayashi says she changed her thinking after her doctor told her not to hide behind cancer. She says she realized she was using the illness as an excuse not to live anymore.
Kobayashi writes that her family accepted, believed in and loved her even though she couldn't cook for them or take her kids to kindergarten. She says she decided to step into the sunlight by writing her blog.
At the end of her essay, Kobayashi asks: "If I died now, what would people think? 'Poor thing, she was only 34'? 'What a pity, leaving two young children'?" She adds, "I don't want people to think of me like that, because my illness isn't what defines my life.
"My life has been rich and colorful -- I've achieved dreams, sometimes clawed my way through, and...met the love of my life. I've been blessed with two precious children. My family has loved me and I've loved them."
She concludes by saying she decided not to allow the disease to overshadow the time she's been given, and that she will be who she wants to be.
Mao Kobayashi died at the age of 34.
Candidates for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly are about to kick off their official campaigns for an upcoming election. Political parties in Japan see the assembly election as an important bellwether for national ballots.
127 seats are up for grabs across 42 electoral districts in Tokyo.
Major parties and political groups expected to field candidates are -- Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito, Japanese Communist Party, Democratic Party, Tomin First, Tokyo Seikatsusha Network, Nippon Ishin, and Social Democratic Party. Independent candidates and other groups are also expected to run.
Governor Yuriko Koike wants to win a majority with her new local political party, Tomin First, and others who support her policies.
They include members of Komeito which ended decades of cooperation with the Liberal Democratic Party in the assembly last December.
The LDP and Komeito are coalition partners in the central government. One of the focuses in the election is whether the LDP can remain as the largest force in the Tokyo assembly.
One of the key issues will be the relocation of Tokyo's iconic Tsukiji food market.
Koike put a hold on relocation plans last year over safety concerns, but recently announced they would go ahead while the old site is redeveloped.
Preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are also expected to be a hot topic during the campaign. The election is on July 2nd.
Japan's Diet has enacted a bill criminalizing the act of planning serious crimes such as terror attacks.
The Upper House of the Diet passed the bill into law on Thursday morning with a majority vote from the governing Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties along with Nippon Ishin and other lawmakers.
The law aims to thwart the conspiracy of terror attacks and other organized crimes. The new legislation criminalises actions including raising money or procuring materials during the planning of serious crimes. It penalizes all members of any group proven to be plotting serious crimes, from hijackings to drug smuggling.
During a debate prior to the vote, the LDP said that terror organizations were now globalized, which means that anywhere in the world is a potential target.
It added that they should recognize terrorism as a real, impending threat and take all necessary measures to ensure safety when hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and other events.
In response, the Democratic Party said that the greatest public concern about the law was the arbitrary investigation by authorities and the infringement on the civil rights and personal freedom of individuals.
The opposition party also accused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet of trying to ram the bill through the Diet in an aggressive pursual of the legislation, despite public opposition.
Experts say the Japanese penal system is based on the principle that a crime is punished when it is carried out. They say the new law expands the scope of punishment by criminalizing some acts under certain conditions before a crime is committed.
A Japanese teenager who's taking the world of shogi by storm has stretched his run of official victories to 24, tying with the second-longest winning streak in the history of the board game.
Souta Fujii became the youngest-ever professional player of shogi, often called Japan's version of chess, last October at the age of 14 years and 2 months.
Fujii, whose rank is 4th dan, beat Hirotaka Kajiura, also 4th dan, on Saturday in his first match of a qualifying round of a title tournament in Tokyo.
The longest winning streak in shogi, 28 victories, was set 30 years ago. Fujii will extend his run to 25 if he wins his second match, scheduled for Saturday evening.
Japan's education ministry has decided to reinvestigate the existence of controversial ministry documents.
After an earlier internal probe, the ministry said it was not able to confirm the existence of documents related to the planned creation of a new veterinary school by Kake Educational Institution, which is run by a close friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
But a former vice education minister claimed last month that such documents were created by the ministry and shared among some of its officials.
One of the documents allegedly mentions the intentions of the highest level of the Prime Minister's Office in calling for the swift approval of the opening of the new school.
Opposition parties, including the Democratic and Communist parties, have demanded a reinvestigation
British police have revealed that perpetrators premeditated Saturday's attack which left 7 people dead and 48 hospitalized in central London.
A van rammed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday night. A short while later, men with knives stabbed people at nearby Borough Market and restaurants in the neighborhood.
Police said at a news conference on Sunday that officers who responded to emergency calls shot dead 3 men who they thought were suicide bombers.
They say the assailants were wearing what appeared to be suicide vests, which turned out to be fake.
Police say that one of the suspects rented a van a few days earlier which was used to carry out the attack.
Prime Minister Theresa May indicated that it was a terror attack by those who were influenced by Islamist extremism.
Police have detained 12 people who are suspected of having links to the case and are investigating the background of the attackers.
British media are reporting that a man from Pakistan was the ringleader of Saturday's terror attacks in London.
Local media say the 27-year-old man was among the three suspects police shot dead at the scene.
On Sunday, police raided an apartment in east London in connection with the attacks, where the man lived with his family.
Local residents say the suspected ringleader came to Britain from Pakistan as a child.
Meanwhile, Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks in London.
The Amaq news agency linked to the group reported on its website on Sunday that the group's fighters carried out the attacks.
US President Donald Trump says his country will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The president made the announcement on Thursday at the White House.
Trump said he will keep his promise to US taxpayers. He referred to the largest emitter China and said the Paris deal is unfair to the US as it allows other countries to continue to pollute at a greater rate.
Trump added the US will begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new deal on terms that are fair to the US, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers.
Provisions of the Paris Agreement allow the US to completely withdraw from the accord in November 2020 at the earliest.
But the decision by the world's second largest emitter is expected to impact global efforts to tackle climate change.
Trump called global warming a "hoax" during the presidential election campaign last year. The withdrawal was one of his campaign pledges.
Analysts say the decision comes as Trump aims to demonstrate he is prioritizing economic growth and job creation over environmental issues under his policy of putting America first.
The decision may draw criticism from other nations that had been urging the US to remain a signatory to the Paris Agreement.
The agreement was struck in 2015. Its signatories aim to effectively reduce man-made global greenhouse gas emissions to zero in the second half of this century.
The World Health Organization has warned in a report that smoking kills more than 7 million people each year and leads to huge economic losses.
The WHO released the report on Tuesday, one day before the annual "World No Tobacco Day" on May 31st.
The report says that about one billion people around the world now smoke on a daily basis. It says of the 7 million annual deaths, more than 6 million result from direct smoking, and another 890,000 from passive smoking.
The report also says that smoking costs households and governments over 1.4 trillion dollars a year, in the form of medical costs and lost productivity.
The report adds that about 80 percent of smokers live in low or middle income countries.
It says that spending on tobacco products often represents more than 10 percent of total household spending for the poorest families, meaning less money is available for food, education and health care.
The WHO is calling on governments to implement strong tobacco control measures, such as raising taxes and banning advertising, to reduce the adverse economic and health effects.
A former vice minister of education is ramping up his assertion that he was repeatedly asked by government advisors to speed up the procedures for opening a new veterinary school.
Kihei Maekawa on Thursday released a statement on the controversy over a university's plan to open the vet school in Imabari City, western Japan.
Imabari has been chosen as the site of a national strategic special zone where the restrictions on opening a vet school have been eased. The university's operator, Kake Educational Institution, is headed by a long-time friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Maekawa said in his statement that in late August last year, Isao Kiso, an advisor to the Cabinet at the time, visited his office.
Maekawa said Kiso asked him to speed up the procedures for opening a vet school. He said he thought Kiso was referring to Kake's school plan because he was a senior official of the institution.
Maekawa also said Kiso told him that all his ministry needed to do was to follow the decision by the Council on National Strategic Special Zones. The council is chaired by Abe.
Kiso says he met Maekawa several times in a private capacity. He says he may have talked about a vet school with him, but he has no recollection of applying any pressure.
In another statement released earlier this week, Maekawa testified about a request from a special advisor to the prime minister.
He said he met Hiroto Izumi at the prime minister's office when the selection of the strategic zone was underway. Maekawa said Izumi asked his ministry to accelerate the procedures for a new vet school.
Abe has denied using his influence over the issue.
Leaders of the Group of 7 nations have pledged to work together to step up the fight against terrorism.
They signed a declaration on countering terrorism and violent extremism at their summit on the Italian island of Sicily on Friday. It was issued in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack in the English city of Manchester.
The statement expresses condolences to the families of the victims of the attack. It says the fight against terrorism is a major priority and the G7 will raise it to a higher level.
The leaders also pledged to enhance efforts to counter the misuse of the internet by terrorists, and called on internet service providers and social media firms to substantially increase their efforts to address terrorist content.
They also vowed to work with civil society toward that end. The declaration says the G7 will continue to play a key role in dismantling connections between terrorism and transnational organized crime.
The leaders are expected to release a separate joint statement summarizing their discussions.
The Imperial Household Agency is planning to officially announce Princess Mako's engagement to Kei Komuro this summer.
Agency chief Shinichiro Yamamoto disclosed the plan at a news conference on Thursday. He said the specific date has yet to be decided. A formal betrothal ceremony will follow the announcement.
Yamamoto said the agency had originally planned to release the news in the fall or later.
He said the agency decided to go public several months early following recent media reports that the princess is getting engaged to Komuro, whom she met at university.
Princess Mako is the eldest daughter of Prince and Princess Akishino. She is the first grandchild of the Emperor and Empress.
Yamamoto said both the Akishino family and the agency agreed it would be better to make the announcement sooner. He said it was in response to the reports and the congratulatory messages from the public.
The grand steward said it was also in the best interest of the princess and her future fiance.
Cancer patients and their supporters have called on the Japanese government to introduce tough measures to prevent passive smoking.
Five groups made the appeal on Monday in Tokyo.
The health ministry and the main governing Liberal Democratic Party are at odds over proposed restrictions on smoking in indoor public spaces.
The groups say tough regulations are essential to protect children, pregnant women and restaurant workers from health problems caused by secondhand smoke exposure, including lung cancer and cardiac arrest.
The leader of a nationwide association of cancer patients' groups, Shinsuke Amano, says an indoor smoking ban is a global trend and he is frustrated by the slow progress in Japan.
Amano says authorities need to do more to protect people from the devastating effects of secondhand smoke, as experienced by cancer patients and their families.
The health ministry wants to take interim restriction measures and then ban smoking in all restaurants, with small bars and similar establishments exempted.
But there is deep-rooted support among members of the LDP for more relaxed rules. They argue that a ban would hurt small businesses.
It remains unclear whether a bill to restrict smoking can be submitted to the current session of the Diet.
Osaka and 3 other cities are bidding to be the host of the 2025 world expo.
According to the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions, the 4 are Osaka in Japan, Greater Paris in France, Yekaterinburg in Russia, and Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
Osaka's theme of the expo is "Designing Future Society for Our Lives." The city expects that its expo will draw 28 million to 30 million visitors. It also estimates that the economic benefit would be worth 1.9 trillion yen or 17 billion dollars.
France was the first to file for candidacy last November. Its theme is "Sharing our Knowledge, Caring for our Planet." France says 50 million people will visit an expo in Greater Paris, with its economic benefit estimated at roughly 27 billion dollars.
The Bureau of International Expositions will open a general assembly in Paris on June 13th. The governments of Japan, France, Russia and Azerbaijan are scheduled to explain their plans at the meeting.
The organization will hold a general assembly in November next year to select the host city.
Officials in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, have decided to artificially raise 4 baby storks whose mother was accidentally shot dead. Storks are a protected species in Japan.
A member of a hunting group in Unnan City killed the birds' mother by mistake on Friday.
The father of the chicks has been feeding them. But it became difficult to protect the baby birds from sunlight because he was spending more time away from the nest.
On Sunday afternoon, the city officials transferred the chicks to a dedicated facility in Hyogo Prefecture, east of Shimane.
A senior official from Unnan says he wanted to see the baby birds grow up in the city because their parents were the first pair of storks to build a nest there. He says he hopes they will be safe in their new home.
A hospital in Japan has started a clinical study to find out whether laughter can have therapeutic effects on cancer patients by boosting their immune systems with help from professional entertainers.
The Osaka International Cancer Institute and 3 entertainment companies will conduct the experiment. Professional comic storytellers, known in Japan as "rakugo-ka," and pairs of stand-up comedians called "manzai-shi," will participate in the research.
They will perform in 8 biweekly sessions from May to August at the hospital. One group of cancer patients will watch all of them, and another group will attend half.
Researchers will look into whether any changes emerge in the immune systems of patients in the two groups. The findings will be publicized in a scientific paper.
The first session on Thursday was attended by 40 outpatients. They laughed as rakugo performer Katsura Bunshi and 2 of his apprentices entertained them.
A 62-year-old patient said this was the first time he had attended a live rakugo session. He said he enjoyed it very much and had a very good laugh. He added that he is sure that laughing will be good for his treatment.
Katsura Bunshi said he hoped laughing would help the patients forget about their illnesses and feel relaxed. He added that he hopes the experiment will be a success.
NHK has learned that Princess Mako is expected to become engaged to a man she met at university.
Sources say her intended is Kei Komuro, of Yokohama, near Tokyo. They both studied at International Christian University in Tokyo.
The wedding will likely take place next year.
Princess Mako is 25 years old. She is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, the Emperor's second son.
After graduating from university, the princess undertook museum studies in Britain.
Back in Japan, she serves as the honorary president of the Japan Tennis Association. She makes goodwill visits to foreign countries and engages in other activities as a member of the Imperial Family.
She has worked as a researcher at a museum in Tokyo since last year.
Komuro is also 25 years old and works for a law firm. He attended international schools before entering the university. During his university days, he was chosen as a tourism ambassador for a municipality.
The sources say Princess Mako and Komuro met about 5 years ago, and that they have recently been dating several times a month.
They say the princess introduced Komuro to her parents and gained their approval for the relationship.
The Imperial Household Agency is expected to announce the engagement after they complete their preparations.
US media say President Donald Trump has revealed highly classified information to Russia about Islamic State militants. The White House denies the claim.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump shared the information with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a White House meeting on May 10th. The article cited current and former US officials as its sources. The New York Times has carried a similar report.
Trump is said to have broad authority as president to declassify government secrets. The Washington Post says his disclosures are unlikely to have broken the law. But it says Trump's decision could endanger cooperation from a US ally that provided the intelligence.
Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied the report, calling the story false. McMaster told reporters that the president and the Russian foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations. But he said: "At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed."
Democrats are demanding that Trump offer an explanation. The Senate's top Democrat, Charles Schumer, said if the report is true, it is very disturbing. He tweeted that revealing classified information is "extremely dangerous", and that such action "puts at risk the lives of Americans and those who gather intelligence for the US."
Trump is under fire over his handling of Russia-related issues. Critics say his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey last week was an attempt to obstruct an investigation into alleged Russian links to the Trump campaign, during the 2016 presidential election.
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile early Sunday morning near Kusong in the northwestern province of Pyngan-pukdo.
The South Korean military is gathering and analyzing information.
North Korea had launched a ballistic missile in February from Kusong. It fell into the Sea of Japan about 500 kilometers east from the launch site.
It released photos of the launch saying that they successfully fired the "Polar Star Two" with a solid fuel engine.
North Korea has launched a ballistic missile three times in April, on the 5th, the 16th, and the 29th. But it is believed the launches all failed.
The launch this Sunday morning is the first since President Moon Jae-in of South Korea took office on Wednesday.
Moon said in a message to South Koreans that he is willing to visit North Korea if conditions allow for the sake of peace.
He named Suh Hoon to head the National Intelligence Service. He was a former senior member of the agency and took part in arranging inter-Korea summits twice.
Some South Korean media said that the North made the launch hoping to steer the negotiation in its favor as the two countries are expected to be in a dialogue phase in a near future.
A senior North Korean envoy says Pyongyang is prepared to talk with the administration of US President Donald Trump under the right conditions.
The North's foreign ministry director general for US affairs, Choe Son Hui, spoke to reporters in Beijing on Saturday before returning to Pyongyang.
Choe is a veteran of negotiations between North Korea and the United States. Earlier this week she spent 2 days in unofficial meetings with a group of US experts in Oslo, Norway.
Thomas Pickering, former undersecretary of state in the Bill Clinton administration, reportedly took part.
The outcome of the discussions is unknown.
Observers say Pyongyang is trying to get a sense of how the Trump administration might act in different situations through unofficial contacts with former US officials.
South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in has hinted at visiting North Korea if conditions allow.
Moon made an oath at the National Assembly soon after midday on Wednesday. Earlier on the day, Moon became president after the National Election Commission confirmed his victory in Tuesday's election.
In a message to the South Korean public released on Wednesday afternoon, Moon noted that the election produced no winners or losers, and called the people as partners each other to create a new South Korea.
He stressed his intention to change the country's politics laden with standoffs between liberals and conservatives.
Moon said he will work to get rid of the current security threat soon. He also expressed his will to work toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, adding that he would visit Washington if necessary, and Beijing, or Tokyo. He said he will do whatever he can to help peace take root in the peninsula.
Moon also referred to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system now being deployed in South Korea. He said he will discuss sincerely its deployment with the United States and China.
The system, known as THAAD, is meant to protect against North Korean missile threats. But China is strongly opposing the deployment, saying that it threatens China's security.
And on Wednesday, Moon also announced his choices for key government posts.
Lee Nak-yon, the governor of South Jeolla Province, was named prime minister.
Lee worked for the South Korean daily paper Dong-A Ilbo, and was a Tokyo correspondent before he became a member of the National Assembly.
He has served as deputy head and secretary general of a group of lawmakers that promotes exchange with Japan.
Im Jong-seok was named chief of staff. The former lawmaker has served as vice mayor of Seoul.
Suh Hoon was named head of the National Intelligence Service.
He has worked for the spy agency for nearly 30 years, and played a role in arranging inter-Korea summits in 2000 and 2007.
Moon Jae-in will become South Korea's next president.
The candidate of the left-leaning Democratic Party declared victory in a brief speech.
This result ends nearly a decade of conservative government in the country.
Election officials had counted about 90 percent of the ballots by around 3 AM Wednesday, local time.
Moon won about 40 percent of the vote.
His rivals, conservative Hong Joon-pyo and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, conceded defeat.
Tuesday's election came 7 months earlier than scheduled because Park Geun-hye was impeached over a corruption scandal.
Moon harshly criticized the former president and called for a change of government.
The election also came amid heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. How to deal with Pyongyang became another focus in the campaign
French President-elect Emmanuel Macron attended a ceremony in Paris on Monday marking the Western Allies' World War Two victory in Europe.
The 39-year-old Macron became the youngest leader of France after winning a presidential run-off on Sunday.
A centrist and independent, Macron garnered 66.1 percent of the vote against 33.9 percent for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of the National Front.
Macron appeared along with President Francois Hollande at the event, which marks the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
They offered flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe.
Macron is expected to be sworn in soon, as President Hollande's term expires on Sunday of next week.
In the run-off election, about 25 percent of the voters abstained, and about 11 percent cast blank or invalid ballots.
The local media and some experts see these figures as reflecting the views of many people against Macron's campaign promises, including remaining in the European Union. They say the incoming president now must put his promises into action and seek the understanding of the people.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his presidential victory in France and asked him to work together for world peace and prosperity.
Abe called the independent centrist's triumph a symbolic win against inward-looking and protectionist moves. He said the election outcome also reflects people's confidence in the European Union.
Abe said Japan and France are special partners that share universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. He said he wants to cooperate with Macron amid a series of challenges to the international order.
Abe added that he looks forward to meeting Macron at a Group of Seven summit to be held in Italy this month.
High levels of yellow sand, a meteorological phenomenon that affects East Asia during the spring months, is reaching Japan for the first time in 2017.
Officials at the Meteorological Agency said on Saturday that westerly winds are carrying the fine sand across from China's desert regions.
The sand was observed in Matsue on the coast of the Sea of Japan.
The officials say the sand will likely be observed in western to northern Japan over the weekend.
Visibility is expected to fall below 5 kilometers in some places. The officials are advising caution for drivers.
The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill that enables government sanctions on foreign nationals and entities for their transactions with North Korea.
The legislation is designed to cut off that country's sources of funds for its nuclear and missile programs.
The legislation, passed on Thursday, targets non-US citizens and companies with connections to North Korea.
They include those who hire North Korean workers and use them as forced labor and those who import large amounts of farm products and natural resources from the North.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce co-sponsored the bill.
On Tuesday, Royce explained that the bill sought to deter North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and enforce UN Security Council sanctions resolutions.
He said all countries, including China, are obligated to honor these international commitments.
Royce also said foreign banks and companies, including those of China, that help the North skirt sanctions need to choose whether to do business with the North Korean regime or the US. He said this is the key focus of the Trump administration.
Following the approval, the Senate is scheduled to deliberate the measure.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants to put a revised Constitution into force in 2020.
Abe revealed his plan in a video address to a gathering of amendment supporters in Tokyo on Wednesday, the nation's Constitution Day.
He said that the confidence Japan gained from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics enabled the country to achieve rapid economic growth and become a developed nation.
He said the year 2020 -- when Tokyo will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games -- is also a significant one for the people of Japan.
Abe said he has high hopes that the year will also see a new Constitution brought into effect, and that he wants to clear a path in that direction for the country's future.
He stressed that a clause acknowledging the existence of the country's Self-Defense Forces should be included in war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
He said this should be done now to finally end all doubt about the legality of the SDF.
Abe added that the principles of war-renouncing Article 9 must be upheld and that any SDF-related provisions should be debated by the public.
He also suggested that another possible reform would be to make higher education free of charge.
This is the first time since Abe returned to office in 2012 that he has detailed his ideas for revising the charter and set a time frame.
Japan's Self-Defense Forces are to carry out a new duty of escorting US and other foreign vessels that are operating to defend Japan.
Security legislation that took effect last year allows the SDF to guard US ships engaged in such activities as joint exercises and the monitoring of possible ballistic missile launches.
SDF personnel are allowed to use weapons to defend foreign ships in the event of infringements that do not amount to an armed attack.
Government sources say Defense Minister Tomomi Inada has already issued an order for the new duty.
The sources say a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer, Izumo, may escort a US supply vessel in the Pacific Ocean off the Japanese coast on Monday.
An NHK correspondent says the government wants to show its strong alliance with the United States at a time of growing tensions over North Korea.
Japan's government remains on high alert following North Korea's apparently failed launch of a ballistic missile.
Cabinet ministers held an urgent meeting of the National Security Council on Saturday morning to discuss the launch earlier in the day.
The ministers confirmed that Japan will collect and analyze information, including what type of missile it was. It will keep the Japanese people informed and ensure the safety of aircraft and ships.
They also confirmed that Japan will work with the United States and South Korea on the matter.
They agreed to be prepared for possible further provocations from North Korea.
The militaries of the United States and South Korea have delivered radar and other equipment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system to its deployment site in southern South Korea.
The country's defense ministry on Wednesday announced the delivery of parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to the site in Seongju.
The system is expected to counter possible missile attack from North Korea. Its equipment was brought into a US airbase in South Korea last month.
As residents in Seongju staged a protest rally, a ballistic missile tracker X-band radar and intercept missile launchers arrived at the site.
South Korean media said the defense ministry may have moved up the transport schedule, as its deployment is a key point of contention in the campaign for the May 9th presidential election.
The ministry said the US and South Korea militaries have begun delivering from those that became operational amid North Korea's increasing nuclear and missile threat.
US and South Korean forces plan to finish deployment as early as possible.
It has been revealed that information related to Japan's national security was included in the confidential documents disclosed by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In 2013, Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been secretly collecting a massive amount of data through leading communications and Internet firms. The data included personal phone calls and emails. Snowden later sought asylum in Russia.
The US Internet media publication The Intercept, which controls the leaked information, began releasing 13 files related to Japan on Monday.
A 2004 document shows that Japan shouldered almost all the construction costs of a communications equipment manufacturing facility at the US Yokota Air Force base in Tokyo.
It says the equipment produced at the facility was used by the United States to gather information around the world. The document says it is note-worthy that the surveillance antennas were used to support strikes on the Al-Qaeda terrorist group in Afghanistan.
Another document referred to the 1983 downing of a South Korean passenger plane off Sakhalin.
The document says the US wanted copies of audio tapes intercepted by Japan's Self Defense Forces from Soviet military aircraft. The US wanted to pursue the responsibility of the Soviet Union. The document also explains how the audio data was brought to the United Nations.
The 2013 document also shows that the NSA provided Japan with a mass surveillance system called 'XKEYSCORE'. The system is said to be capable of collecting and searching on-line emails and other communications data.
Japanese Defense Ministry officials say they have not read the files, and that they have no further comment.
British pop star Paul McCartney has arrived in Japan to hold concerts in the country for the first time in 2 years.
A private jet carrying the former Beatle touched down at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Sunday. The 74-year-old was greeted by about 700 fans in the arrival lobby.
A man said it was a dream come true when he shook hands with the artist.
McCartney will give 4 concerts in the Japanese capital this time. The first gig will take place on Tuesday at the Nippon Budokan arena, where the Beatles performed 51 years ago.
The 14-year-old shogi player who became the youngest-ever professional in Japan has defeated one of the game's top masters.
Sota Fujii became a pro player of the chess-like Japanese board game last October at the age of 14 years and 2 months, when he was promoted to the rank of 4th-dan.
On Sunday, an Internet TV channel carried an unofficial match between Fujii and highest-ranking 9th-dan shogi master Yoshiharu Habu.
Habu currently holds 3 tiles, and is the only person in the history of shogi to have once possessed all 7 titles simultaneously.
In the match, Fujii gradually picked up his pace with accurate moves, giving no indication that he had far less experience than Habu.
Fujii continued to press his opponent without mistakes until Habu resigned in the closing stage.
Fujii said he appreciated the rare opportunity to play against such a great master, adding that he was nervous. He said he did his best and the result was beyond his expectation.
Habu said that Fujii's style of play, both offensive and defensive, was well-balanced. He said he cannot imagine how much stronger the teenage player will become.
In his debut match in December, Fujii defeated 76-year-old 9th-dan holder Hifumi Kato, shogi's oldest active professional player. Fujii achieved his 13th straight victory in official play earlier this month.
Japanese destroyers and a US aircraft carrier will begin a joint drill on Sunday in the Pacific, off the Philippines.
Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels -- the Ashigara and the Samidare -- are joining the USS Carl Vinson and 2 other US vessels.
Japan's Defense Ministry says the vessels will check each other's moves and share information based on various scenarios.
The Japanese vessels left a base in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki on Friday as the Carl Vinson strike group headed for waters off the Korean Peninsula.
Ministry sources say the drill will last for several days, and that the 2 sides plan to move the vessels north through the East China Sea.
North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army on April 25th.
Observers say the joint drill is apparently aimed at preventing Pyongyang from taking provocative actions.
US President Donald Trump has urged China to exert its influence over North Korea, in a bid to resolve the issue of the North's nuclear and missile development programs.
Trump tweeted on Friday that China is the "economic lifeline" to North Korea.
He stated that he has high expectations for China, writing "while nothing is easy, if they want to solve the North Korean problem, they will."
Trump has revealed that when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, he suggested that the United States could provide China with profitable trade opportunities if China can help the US deal with North Korea.
He has also repeatedly expressed hope on Twitter and at news conferences that China will play a role in resolving the problems with the North.
Analysts say Trump is trying to stop North Korea's provocative actions by working together with China and by using UN resolutions to step up the pressure on Pyongyang.
Parisians are about to get their first look inside a new concert venue designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and his French partner, Jean de Gastines.
La Seine Musicale, which sits on an island in the Seine River, opens to the public on Saturday. The venue features a 6,000-seat hall and a separate classical music auditorium.
A large screen in front of the entrance will enable public viewings of live performances.
The complex is surrounded by 45-meter-tall solar panels that follow the movement of the Sun to increase power efficiency.
Ban says the architecture will provide a dynamic experience for concert-goers, who will feel the seasons as they stroll around the building. He said he hopes the venue will make a strong impression.
La Seine Musicale will stage all types of music, from classical to rock.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been chosen as one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine of the US.
Koike is listed in the category of Pioneers. The first woman mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, describes her as a governor with both ambitions for Tokyo and an acute awareness of the challenges it faces.
Hidalgo says that in politics and business, power is often exercised by men, while women must struggle to be heard.
She says Koike is a trailblazer and an example for Japanese women and women all around the world.
US President Donald Trump, White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, as well as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis are listed under the category of Leaders.
Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, are listed as Pioneers.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made the list for the 7th time in a row. A former US representative in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, Christopher Hill, describes Kim's nuclear ambitions as the most dangerous challenge facing President Trump.
Hill says there are no good options for stopping Kim, but cooperating with China and reinforcing alliances with Japan and South Korea is a start.
The US media giant Twenty-First Century Fox has fired a star newscaster over allegations of sexual harassment.
The company said on Wednesday that longtime host Bill O'Reilly would be leaving Fox News' main evening program.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that Fox and O'Reilly paid a total of 13 million dollars to 5 women to settle harassment claims. This led to some 50 companies withdrawing commercials from his program.
Twenty-First Century Fox says O'Reilly's removal follows a thorough and careful review of the allegations. O'Reilly has issued a statement calling the claims unfounded.
A male CEO at Fox News resigned last year over alleged sexual harassment.
Fox News has been giving US President Donald Trump favorable coverage whereas most of the country's leading media are at odds with his administration.
O'Reilly has been known for his close personal ties with Trump.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met with visiting US Vice President Mike Pence. The talks come amid growing tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
Pence arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday as part of his first official trip to the Asia-Pacific region.
At the start of the talks, Abe said, "Through your visit to Japan, we want to demonstrate that the strong bond of the Japan-US alliance is unwavering."
Pence said, "We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocation across the Sea of Japan.
He also said to Abe, "As the president himself would say, if he was here, let me be clear to you, and to all the people of Japan, we are with you 100 percent."
Abe says it is necessary to press Pyongyang to start negotiating in a sincere manner. He says Japan appreciates President Donald Trump's stance that strategic patience is over and all options are on the table.
The meeting comes amid North Korea's repeated missile tests. Pyongyang is also threatening to conduct a nuclear test when and where its leadership decides.
Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso is sitting down with visiting US Vice President Mike Pence to discuss how to improve economic relations between Japan and the United States.
Aso and Pence are expected to produce the framework for an economic dialogue.
They will discuss fiscal and monetary policies, infrastructure investment and other forms of economic cooperation. They will also try to set rules for bilateral trade and investment.
US President Donald Trump has expressed frustration over Washington's trade deficits with countries such as Japan and China. He says he wants to reach a bilateral deal with Japan, after pulling the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But Japanese officials prefer multilateral deals like the TPP. They're also looking to step up talks on economic cooperation, including high-speed rail services in the US.
US Vice President Mike Pence has strong words for North Korea, which has accelerated its nuclear and missile development programs. Pence says Pyongyang would do well not to test the resolve of President Donald Trump or the strength of US armed forces in the region.
The vice president was speaking at a joint news conference with South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, after their talks on Monday in Seoul. Hwang also serves as acting president.
Pence said the United States wants to denuclearize North Korea peacefully, but all options are on the table.
He referred to the US military's missile strike on a Syrian government air base and the use of the mother of all bombs against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.
Pence said the world has witnessed the strength and resolve of President Trump in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan.
Hwang said he and Pence agreed that the US military will deploy the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea at an early date to bolster their bilateral alliance.
He also said the international community should step up pressure on North Korea and implement sanctions without fail to stop the country from achieving its goals.
Vice President Pence said the United States is confident that China will properly deal with North Korea. He added that if China is unable to the US and its allies will.
THAADミサイル（終末高高度防衛ミサイル、英: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile, サードミサイル）は、アメリカ陸軍が開発した弾道弾迎撃ミサイル・システム。当初は、戦域高高度防衛ミサイル（英: Theater High Altitude Area Defense missile）と呼ばれていた。
THAADは大気圏外での交戦に特化しており、低高度での弾道ミサイル、あるいは通常航空機との交戦は、パトリオットPAC-3など、従来型のHIMAD用ミサイル・システムに任せることとなる。また、大気圏外での交戦を重視していることから、洋上配備のSM-3と同様の中間段階（ミッドコース・フェイズ）対処も可能と誤解されることがあるが、THAADはその名前のとおりに終末段階での迎撃用であり、地上での中間段階対処については、より長射程・高射高のGBI（Ground Based Interceptor）が主としてこの任にあたる。
US Vice President Mike Pence will meet South Korea's Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday. They plan to discuss how to deal with North Korea.
Pence arrived in the South Korean capital Seoul on Sunday. He spoke at a dinner with US military members stationed in the country.
Pence referred to the latest ballistic missile launch conducted by Pyongyang earlier in the day. Analysts deemed the attempt to be a failure. They believe the missile blew up immediately after the launch.
Pence said North Korea's provocation is yet another reminder of the risks that US and South Korean military members face every day.
He added that under President Donald Trump's leadership, US commitment to the historic alliance with the "courageous" people of South Korea has never been stronger.
A senior White House official says Vice President Pence will likely receive briefings on North Korea from the commander of US forces in the South and others.
The information is expected to be used in studying a wide array of diplomatic and military options to deal with Pyongyang.
The Trump administration has not ruled out the option of military action as a means to stop Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday, but it appears to have failed. The US and South Korean militaries are working to gather details of the launch.
The US Pacific Command and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff say they believe the missile blew up almost immediately after its launch.
They say the attempt was made in the eastern part of the country from a site near Sinpo in South Hamgyong Province.
Japan's Defense Ministry says it has not detected any projectiles that flew toward Japan, and has not seen any developments that would immediately affect the country.
On April 5th, the North fired a ballistic missile from the same site toward the Sea of Japan. An official at the US Defense Department said the April 5th missile was likely to have been a Scud-ER, which has a range of 1,000 kilometers.
The official said that missile also likely went out of control soon after the launch and the firing was unsuccessful.
But the South Korean military said the missile might have been a Pukguksong-2, a land-based variant of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM.
A Pukguksong-2 was shown for the first time during Saturday's military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of leader Kim Jong Un.
The US and South Korean militaries have been on alert against the possibility that the North may take provocative actions to keep the administration of US President Donald Trump in check.
The Trump administration has suggested it won't rule out using military options against the North.
North Korea has also been strongly opposing the joint military drills by US and South Korean forces, which began last month.